On the morning of April 27, 2011, I awakened to tornado sirens, which is nothing extraordinary for residents in Birmingham, Alabama. Rather than rush to the basement, I spent twenty minutes debating whether to rouse my still sleeping family, until the winds died down and it seemed as if the storm had passed. For those of us not directly affected though, that morning burst (which struck the neighboring Cahaba Heights community, killing one and injuring twenty) was just a taste of what was in store. By the end of the day, the state had endured one of the most severe tornado outbreaks ever recorded, with more than sixty tornados contributing to more than 240 deaths. Economic losses from the event exceeded $4 billion.
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